Reminding us that for every Murphy Brown—that stalwart ship of the reboot state—there are all sorts of TV revival projects that never even make it off the pier, Hilary Duff has dropped some hints this week about what went wrong with her Lizzie McGuire reboot at Disney+. For those of you not up on your tween-superstar-revival-streaming drama, the series was moving along nicely as one of the upcoming offerings at the service, until Disney abruptly fired creator and showrunner Terri Minsky after two full episodes had already been shot. Duff—who was on her honeymoon when the news about Minsky’s firing broke—has been notably quiet about the whole situation, but, as noted by Vulture, she did make a rather pointed comment on her Instagram Stories recently, after Disney announced that it was moving the Love, Simon sequel to Hulu because of its adult themes. “Sounds familiar…” Duff reportedly wrote, suggesting that Disney wasn’t terribly stoked about a McGuire revival in which Lizzie was, well, Hilary Duff-aged, and doing the things that Duff-aged people do, like renting cars and paying their taxes.
Minsky confirmed as much herself today to Variety, noting that she’s incredibly proud of the two episodes of the reboot that she and Duff created together, and praised the star for having “A grasp of Lizzie McGuire at 30 that needs to be seen.” But while Minsky and Duff were apparently both interested in telling a story about a woman figuring out her life in her 30s, Disney reportedly wanted something more “family friendly” for its streaming subscribers. (It’s hard not to imagine them wishing for something like Girl Meets World, which took some of the dynamics of a truly weird original series and softened them for a younger/more nostalgic audience.) Which is understandable—the Disney+ brand has rapidly evolved into a profitable melange of cartoons, Baby Yoda, and stuff you remember from when you were a kid—but the handling was outright bizarre. All reports make it obvious that Disney execs were clear on what the show was when Minsky pitched it to them, and were on set while it was being filmed; the decision to fire her during a shooting hiatus, and when her star and collaborator was out of contact, can’t help but seem a little odd.
For what it’s worth, Disney is still super-confident that the series will be moving forward, explaining away all of this stuff as growing pains and “creative re-development.” Of course, that prospect pretty much relies on Duff being willing to play ball—unless we’re going to center this whole thing on the adult trials and trevails of, like, Gordo—and it’s an extremely open question of how likely she is to want to do that, given everything that’s gone down with the series so far.